My best mate rang me this morning at 07.15, thought he might have had a gripper but no he'd just got a random text I'd sent him the previous evening! I wasn't grumpy .... it got me up and so I should have been because my plan the previous evening was to get out to North Duffield, part of the Derwent Valley reserve and see if I could get the Bittern that has been seen there regularly for the past week or so.
Spent about 2 hours in the Geoffrey Smith hide along with several other early rising birders but alas no sign of said bird. As far as I can gather it was last seen on the 19th and we've had some 'weather' since then so maybe its wandered off to 'reed' pastures new. One of my blogging friends Andy Walker was a bit quicker off the mark ans has some good pics on his site of the bird here - A.W. Birder
Good selection of wildfowl there this morning with plenty of Shoveler, Mallard, Wigeon, Gadwall, Pintail, Teal and 'Tufties'. A distant female Marsh Harrier over reeds at Aughton was pleasing on the eye and we also had a couple of Sparrowhawks and there were about 180 Golden Plover amongst 400 or so Lapwings. Shame about the Bittern, I've only ever seen 2 in Yorkshire and none around my local patch.
The only other highlight was a daytime hunting Barn Owl along the river bank which at one point came close enough to photograph and probably gave me my best images to date of this bird in flight.